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Today is The 5th Saturday of Lent
The Liturgical Color of the day is Violet

Jesus reaching out
Thursday, April 21st

Mark Morford: New pope needs to brand Advil!?!

Those of you who read my blog regularly (hi Mom!) know that Mark Morford isn't one of my favorite columnists. Well, he's officially sent me over the edge of Christian charity with this last column 14 Thoughts For The New Pope. Read it if you want to see an immature man piss and moan about the election of a great man as Pope. It really took all of my strength and prayers to write him this letter:

I've written you a handful of e-mails about your columns over the last year, each rebuking you for some comment you've made in your columns. While in each of those cases I've significantly disagreed with you, I've been able to, without too much difficulty, treat you charitably. After your column of filth, bitterness and bigotry titled '14 thoughts for the new pop' it is taking all of my God given strength to restrain myself from spewing litanies of profanities at you. God willing I will find the strength.

At first I thought I'd want to respond to each of your 14 suggestions, but frankly too many of them are ridiculously juvenile to warrant a response. Additionally, your column reflects a complete ignorance of the Church that the amount of time it would take to write a proper response to your demands for women's ordination and sexual liberation (including homosexual activities) would be an undue burden on my family. That said, I will take the time to comment on the few I agree with so that we can at least start with our common ground:

Suggestion #6: Why is Christian music so patently awful? That's a great question. While you and I may not agree with the direction to take the music, I think we both realize that there is something lacking here. I don't know what we can expect Benedict to do about it, or even should expect him to do about it, but at least we're on the same page.

Suggestion #7: What is wrong with Kristin Chenowith? I don't know her music, but I'll assume that you're pointing to what I've heard often in Christian music, which is a complete lack of depth and diversity of both musical and lyrical talent. I think we can agree here too.

Suggestion #12: Remember the Boston Archdiocese. I think all good Catholics would agree with you that the priest abuse scandal was disgusting in it's very nature and even more so in its specifics. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how this Pope attacks problems like this.

In fact, I think suggestion #12 is a good place to start from because it reflects where we truly stand on common ground and where be diverge from. The way I see it, it is examples like the priest abuse scandal that call for strong leadership in the Church and why the elevation of Benedict XVI was such a joyous occasion. Let's be honest, the scandal was most disgusting because of the lack of leadership by the bishops, particularly those like Cardinal Law, who failed completely in their Catholic mission to the world. Instead of leading his flock to Jesus, Cardinal Law let the wolves attack and sat back and watched it unfold.

We need strong leadership to lead us out of era of ambiguity and compromise. Pope Benedict XVI is a strong leader, a leader who is going to uphold the Catholic faith. He is going to stand in front of the Church and rebuke those who try to corrupt its message. That's what this is really about. Those who don't like what the Church stands for are unhappy that a strong leader who stands for everything the Church stands for has been elevated by the Holy Spirit to lead the Church away from apostasy. What they wanted was a weak leader who would let the Church continue to turn its back on those who wanted to destroy the mission of the Church.

What those who want someone weak to lead the Church fail to realize is that the result is disastrous. While it may allow those who dissent from the Church to go about our lives unencumbered, it also allows for the priest scandal to go unchecked, the unjust wars of the world to go uncondemned, and the moral standards of the world fail to be upheld as the model by which we should life. Pope Benedict it seems, will not let any of this happen. He will be a strong leader who will proudly proclaim the Gospel.

This is what is so disgusting about your column. You seemingly have no understanding of what the Church is, what its purpose is and how it is trying to accomplish this. While on the one hand your bemoaning the lack of sexual freedom it gives, you attack those moments when it fails to uphold any sexual moral standards. You spend fully half of your points discussing oddly irrelevant topics like "branding", Emilio Estevez, blackjack and Alan Alda. You condemn the Church for "rewriting" the "true" religious history of the world and then criticize it for not censoring (or slapping) Mel Gibson's attempt to portray his image of Christ. What in God's name do you really want? Do you see how your 14 suggestions do not reflect any consistent ideal outside of a Dictatorship of Relativism, a Church that stands for nothing?

You see Mark, the Gospel is not about sexual freedom. The Gospel is not about the divine feminine (God transcends gender). The Gospel is not about raising money (especially through the "Advil pope"). The Gospel is not about music, either good or bad. The Gospel is not about popularity. Finally and most importantly from this letter's perspective, the Gospel is not about bowing to your pathetically juvenile temper-tantrum.

The Gospel is about the unchanging and dogmatic Truths of Jesus Christ, the Truths that the Universal Roman Catholic Church and its humble servant Pope Benedict XVI will do everything in its power to uphold.

Ken Crawford
Online reader in Roseville, CA

kencraw on 04.21.05 @ 04:08 PM PST [link] [1 Comment ]

I finished reading 'Earth Abides'

Last night I finished Earth Abides by George R. Stewart. It was every bit as good as I remeber it. Last night I read the last 100 pages and just couldn't put it down despite it being past when I usually go to bed.

What I found interesting about reading it this time is how much the main character's wife is given a Marian image. She is called the Mother of Nations in the book and is the strongest of all the characters.

Read it! It starts slowly but once you get to the middle section called 'The Year 22' it picks up and has a number of gripping moments that come as quite a surprise. After that section, the second section called 'The Quick Years' and the final section are amazingly perceptive.

kencraw on 04.21.05 @ 09:24 AM PST [link] [No Comments ]

Reply from Ebay Eucharist buyer

When the eucharist was sold on Ebay I e-mailed the buyer to confirm that he was indeed Catholic as was rumored and was buying it to return to the Church. Here is the reply I got from him today. I didn't ask him if I could post it on my blog, but considering both the e-mail load he must be getting and the nature of the e-mail (a bulk-like e-mail) I decided it would be appropriate to post it without explicit permission:

I apologize for not getting back to you sooner, but as you can imagine, I have been flooded with emails.

However, so as to ease your fears, I am a very devout and traditional Catholic and a 3rd Degree Catholic Knights of Columbus member. So I take my Catholic faith very seriously. And although money is tight for me, I could not take the chance of this host falling into the wrong hands.

So I did what I needed to do to protect the Eucharist, I committed myself to the seller that I would purchase the Eucharist at the buy it now price of $2000, thus ending the auction. Once I received
the Eucharist I would then give it to the Church.

However, due to all the prayers coming in from devout Catholics like yourselves from all over the planet, the ending has changed.

Apparently the seller has had a change of heart. The seller asked me if I wouldn't mind canceling the eBay purchase of the Eucharist, So instead of me spending $2000 for the Eucharist and then giving it to
the church, the seller will not sell the Eucharist, but instead, give it to the Catholic Church himself. Now that's an answer to prayer!

Your emails of kind words, suggestions, concerns and prayers were all very much appreciated.

But I wasn't the only one who prayed and stepped forward to protect the Eucharist with my purchase. Everyone of you who emailed your concerns and offered up your prayers, along with thousands of other
Catholics all over the planet in horror of what was happening also prayed. Miracles happen when we pray. And this surely was a Miracle the way it all turned out. All of you played a part. I truly believe all the prayers offered, helped to bring this situation to an acceptable close.

It's unfortunate though, for once the Eucharist was listed on eBay, it didn't matter whether or not it as sold, in fact, the seller could have had second thoughts and had it immediately pulled. But still, it would have been too late, for now the damage had been done. Already we're seeing copycats looking for easy money at Our Lord's expense. I ask you, as you prayed before, please continue praying for this sacrilege to stop!

Again, Thank you for your support and your prayers.

kencraw on 04.21.05 @ 08:54 AM PST [link] [No Comments ]

Tuesday, April 19th

Man I need to learn Latin!

Our new Pope is speaking to us for the first time and I have no idea what he is saying. Maybe this will be the motivation I need to learn it!

kencraw on 04.19.05 @ 09:54 AM PST [link] [1 Comment ]

New Pope Elected: Benedict

Cardinal Ratzinger has been elected the new Pope! He's taking the name Benedict... Benedict XVI (16).

kencraw on 04.19.05 @ 09:50 AM PST [link] [No Comments ]

Monday, April 18th

Great news about the Eucharist on Ebay

Well at least that auction. The guy who was selling it was contacted by the diocese he lives in and after talking with them, he agreed to hand over the host to the Church. Thanks be to God! Here is an article on the subject.

The reason I say "at least that auction" is because Ebay continues to thwart the effort to get them to ban Eucharistic sales on their website. The above linked article has contact information for Ebay to complain. Also there is an online petition to get Ebay to change their policy.

Please take any and every action you can to help right this wrong.

kencraw on 04.18.05 @ 04:24 PM PST [link] [No Comments ]

Question of the Week: Is baptism necessary?

I guess this week my scripture reflection and my question of the week are the same. See below for the answer to the question.

kencraw on 04.18.05 @ 04:16 PM PST [link] [No Comments ]

Reflections on Sunday's readings

As I said last week, I love the readings from Easter! They are so straight forward. The portion of the readings that I quoted in my scripture quote of the week from Acts of the Apostles is one of those passages that, to me anyway, points to the necessity of baptism. Of all the beliefs of evangelical Christians the one that invaribly has me most scratching my head is their de-emphasis on baptism. Every time baptism is brought up in scripture it seems it is always coupled with conversion. "Repent and be baptized", how much more clear does it need to be?

Maybe it is just that for those who de-emphasize baptism they see a false dicotomy between baptism and "believing in him" as it says in John 3:16 (that you see on the signs at football games). But there is no conflict there. One can both believe AND be baptized. Stated more definitively, as Peter tells us, it is the obligation of believers to be baptized as soon as they repent (which would be there first act as a believer). Or if one is inclined to see Peter as over stating the importance of baptism, one should look at Christ's command:

'He said to them, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.' (Mark 16:15-16)

If one were to take this verse without the rest of scripture, it would suggest that there could be up to three states for those who have died:

1. Those who believed and were baptized = saved.
2. Those who believed and were not baptized = unknown (i.e. the verse isn't clear).
3. Those who don't believe (baptized or otherwise) = condemned.

Now, there is much else to be said in scripture about the saving power of faith, but there is also much to be said about the necessity of baptism, so it is unfair to take this verse in exclusion of those particularly in relation to state #2. Almost all Christians believe that in state #2, you at least have the possibility of salvation. The Catholic Church speaks of a "Baptism of Desire" speaking of those who genuinely sought the Gospel but were either unable to be baptized (in water) or were unaware of the need. Other Christians would just say that faith is enough and there is not even a need for a desire for baptism.

For those Christians that say faith is enough, they are turning their back on powerfully important verses of scripture. Every Christian should be baptized! It says so many times in scripture. When those who say "Yeah, but it says here that faith is enough and even the Catholic Church says that those who haven't been baptized can be saved" I would respond in three ways:

1. The Catholic Church's position on those who haven't been baptized is a "loophole" scenario that God gave us in his infinite mercy. We shouldn't be consciously manipulating that "loophole". It is not what God desires.
2. God makes it clear that he desires those who come to believe to be baptized. To NOT be baptized when you know that it is His will is to turn your back on your faith.
3. There are other places that say baptism is necessary. You can't take any one verse in exclusion of the others. When you take all of scripture it seems that you need to both believe and be baptized ("loopholes" aside).

So, this week my "reflection" is an exhortation to all Christians who don't believe in the necessity ("loopholes" aside) of baptism. As a faithful follower of Christ, please read what scripture has to say (read any one of the Gospels in totality with an emphasis on seeing the role of baptism in salvation), repent of de-emphasizing baptism and emerse yourself in the saving water of baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

Scripture to support Baptism:
1. God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. This prefigured baptism, which saves you now. (1 Peter 3:21)
2. We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
3. Jesus said to them "The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;" (Mark 10:38)
4. Jesus answered, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. (John 3:5)
5. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20)

kencraw on 04.18.05 @ 04:15 PM PST [link] [No Comments ]

Scripture Quote of the Week

'Peter said to them,
"Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."'

-Acts 2:38 from Sunday's 1st reading

kencraw on 04.18.05 @ 03:08 PM PST [link] [No Comments ]


Other blogs I read:
Jimmy Akin
Crowhill's blog
Amy Welborn's 'open book' blog
Secondhand Smoke-Wesley Smith
Envoy Encore
Dale Price's blog
Mark Shea (On sabatical)

The Church I participate in:
Official Vatican Site
US Conference of Bishops
Sacramento Diocese
SS Peter and Paul Parish

Good Catholic Websites:
NewAdvent-Encyclopedia, Bible, Etc.
Zenit Catholic News
EWTN: Catholic TV and radio
Mass times for US travelers

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